Canada’s finest scholar bank cards for 2023


The 6 finest scholar bank cards in Canada

Researching bank cards between lessons? Whereas a grade on a paper possibly its solely reward, having the precise bank card can imply the distinction between a free tank of fuel or dinner out on the finish of the semester–all whilst you’re constructing a credit score historical past. By the point you graduate and get that first huge gig, paying off your scholar bank card each month may enable you to purchase a house or card extra simply. That’s what having a historical past with a bank card and an excellent credit score rating can do. Now, let’s take a look at your choices. 

Finest scholar bank card for money again

BMO CashBack Mastercard*


At a look: This bank card provides you plenty of alternative to earn money again, particularly for getting groceries, paying payments and different purchases. And in contrast to different money again playing cards for college students, the charges on these classes are spectacular. Plus, you possibly can redeem your money again while you really want it—sure, even earlier than winter break vacation purchasing.

  • Annual price: $0
  • Earn charge: 3% money again on groceries (as much as $500 monthly), 1% on recurring payments (as much as $500 monthly) and 0.5% money again on every part else.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, % on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You may earn 5% money again in your first 3 months


  • It affords a wholesome 3% money again charge on groceries as much as a most of $500 a month. No different no-fee money again bank card earns this charge.
  • The minimal redemption requirement is barely $1, so you possibly can redeem your money again while you really want it (fairly candy while you don’t need your subsequent meal to be KD or ramen noodles).
  • Gadgets you buy utilizing the cardboard obtain double the producer’s authentic guarantee safety, as much as one yr.
  • Rise up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo automotive rental places.


  • There are not any journey insurance coverage or associated perks with this card. However it’s not atypical of different no-fee playing cards.
  • There are caps on the bonus spend classes: 3% on the primary $500 you spend on groceries monthly, with every part over that incomes the bottom 0.5% earn charge. That stated, it’s a month-to-month cap, so that you begin once more the primary of the month. 
  • No earn charge for transportation or fuel, because it’s within the “every part else” pile at 0.05%. Which means Ubers, too.

Additionally take into account:

CIBC Dividend Visa for College students

At a look: Earn 2% on groceries, then 1% eating, fuel, transportation and recurring invoice funds, after which earn 0.5% money again on every part else. However a cool bonus is entry to SPC+, which is a scholar low cost program, with offers from Apple Music to Zaful fashions.

  • Annual price: $0
  • Earn charge: Earn 2% on groceries; 1% on fuel, EV charging, transportation, eating and recurring funds; and 0.5% money again on all different purchases.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: Welcome Provide: Get $60 money again after you make your first buy inside the first 4 months!†


  • Cardholders eligible for an SPC membership and get free entry to SPC+, which affords larger reductions and particular experiences.
  • The incomes on spend class caps are excessive: $80,000 in web purchases or $20,000 on grocery, fuel, transportation, eating and recurring funds.
  • On high of incomes factors, it’s also possible to save $0.10 per litre at choose Pioneer, Fas Gasoline, Ultramar and Chevron fuel stations while you hyperlink your card with the Journee rewards program from CIBC.


  • At a most of 1% money again, the earn charges for all spend classes are modest in comparison with different money again bank card applications. 
  • So is the 0.05% money again charge for the rest.

Finest scholar bank card for Air Miles

BMO Air Miles Mastercard*

At a look: Not residing at dwelling? Learning overseas? Why not use your bank card rewards on a visit again dwelling by incomes Air Miles while you use your card. 

  • Annual price: $0
  • Earn charge: Earn 1 mile for each $25 spent and 3 times the rewards at taking part Air Miles accomplice shops (together with Metro, Sobeys, Foodland, Staples and extra), double the factors at Air Miles companions.
  • Rate of interest: 20.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: You may earn 1,500 AIR MILES Bonus Miles! That’s sufficient for $150 in the direction of purchases with AIR MILES Money. Should apply by July thirty first, 2023.


  • Earn 3 times the miles when spending at taking part Air Miles companions.
  • Plus, you possibly can earn Air Miles twice: As soon as while you use your BMO Air Miles Mastercard, and a second time while you use your Air Miles loyalty card. 
    For flexibility, redeem your rewards for reward playing cards and reductions at Air Miles companions, in addition to on the retailer for offers and bonus rewards from a whole bunch of outlets.
  • Earn bonus Air Miles from eligible purchases from a lot of retailers, with as much as 5 instances the factors from retailers reminiscent of Adidas, Amazon, Aldo and others.
  • Rise up to 25% off base charges at eligible Nationwide and Alamo rental places.


  • Air Miles might be much less versatile than money again, as you’ll have to redeem by means of Air Miles companions. So for those who don’t frequently store at Sobey’s, Shell, and so forth., it might be inconvenient to earn rewards.
  • Journey redemptions are much less easy, too. For instance, you possibly can’t redeem for any airline and you need to use the Air Miles journey portal when reserving.
  • Regardless of being a journey card, there isn’t any journey insurance coverage hooked up to this card. So for those who do want some, you’ll have to pay for the insurance coverage your self or forgo it and pay out of pocket for issues like misplaced baggage or missed flights, and so forth.

Finest scholar bank card for grocery purchasing

PC Monetary Mastercard*

PC Financial Mastercard

At a look: Cooking at dwelling is an efficient monetary play for those who’re residing away from the fam whereas in school. This card permits you to earn factors on each buy, however you possibly can earn bonus factors while you store for groceries at Loblaw banner shops (together with Loblaws, No Frills, Actual Canadian Superstore, Fortinos and Valu-mart). 

  • Annual price: $0
  • Earn charge: Earn 25 Optimum factors for each $1 spent at Consumers Drug Mart, 10 factors per $1 at Loblaw banner shops, and in every single place else. Get 20 factors per $1 when reserving by means of PC Journey, and get at the very least 30 factors per litre while you fuel up at Esso or Mobil. Redeem your PC Optimum factors on the check-out of those locations. Redemptions begin at 10,000 factors for $10 worth.
  • Rate of interest: 20.97% on purchases, 22.97% on money advances, 22.97% on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 PC Optimum™ factors with a brand new PC® Mastercard®


  • You’re incomes 25 factors per $1 at Consumers Drug Mart and 30 factors per litre of fuel at Esso. That’s equal to a 2.5% and three% return, respectively. These are spectacular returns for a scholar card.
  • This bank card earns you a base earn charge of 1 level per $1. Most different scholar playing cards have a base earn charge of simply 0.5%.
  • You may redeem PC Optimum factors at Loblaw-affiliated shops, which suggests you possibly can put a serious dent in your on a regular basis payments. Sure, that features groceries on the nook Consumers Drug Mart. You may redeem factors at Canada’s largest pharmacy and grocery chain, in addition to Joe Contemporary, for a complete of over 4,500 places throughout Canada. You aren’t restricted to a small variety of area of interest places like most different retail playing cards or loyalty playing cards.
  • There’s no cap on the variety of PC Optimum factors you possibly can earn.


  • Not as versatile as a money again program, as you possibly can solely redeem your rewards at sure retailers. 
  • There’s a minimal redemption requirement of $20.

Finest scholar bank card for cash administration

Koho Pay as you go Mastercard with an Simple subscription*

At a look: Koho’s pay as you go Mastercard works like a debit or reward card, that means you don’t have to fret about getting authorized. Plus, it’s made to assist cardholders maintain inside their funds whereas constructing a credit score rating with monetary teaching and useful app instruments, reminiscent of spending insights. Once you open a Koho account, you’ll be mechanically enrolled into Simple, Koho’s free entry-level subscription plan, and obtain a digital pay as you go Mastercard. Koho Simple already comes with a ton of nice options, reminiscent of “rounding up” your transactions so it can save you sooner. However if you’d like extra, you possibly can improve to Koho’s Important or Additional paid plans for higher earn charges and extra perks.

  • Annual price: $0
  • Earn charge: 1% money again on payments, providers, and groceries; as much as 5% again at choose retailers 
  • Rate of interest: N/A
  • Welcome supply: 1% money again on groceries, payments & providers
  • Extra advantages: Entry to budgeting instruments, RoundUp, monetary teaching, and credit score constructing for a price; 0.5% curiosity in your account; entry to joint accounts
  • Annual earnings requirement: None


  • As a pay as you go bank card, you don’t pay curiosity because you don’t truly carry a stability. You set cash in your account earlier than you possibly can spend it. That is nice for anybody trying to stick with a funds whereas constructing a credit score rating. 
  • It additionally affords a “spherical up” characteristic, which tallies up purchases to the closest quantity of your selecting ($1, $2, $5 or $10) and places that cash into your financial savings.
  • If it is advisable to construct up your credit standing, you possibly can enrol for credit score constructing with Koho for an extra $10 monthly; it should report your spending habits to the credit score bureaus.
  • It options spending insights that can assist you maintain observe of your funds. And, for many who want a bit extra hands-on assist, Koho affords monetary teaching.


  • To benefit from Koho’s credit score constructing device, you’ll should spend $10 monthly. For a scholar on a restricted funds, that may actually add up.
  • If you wish to entry Koho’s finest perks and options, you’ll should subscribe to Koho Important or Additional, which include month-to-month charges of $4 monthly (or $48 per yr) and $9 monthly (or $84 per yr), respectively. You may join a 30-day free trial to see if the additional charges are value it.

Finest scholar bank card for very bad credit

Plastk Secured Visa Credit score Card*

At a look: Not everybody goes to high school with a clear slate, and that’s okay. If that’s you, a secured bank card is a greater choice. You set cash on the cardboard, which might then be used for those who default on any funds. Why we selected this one: The deposit is simply $300.

  • Annual price: $120
  • Rate of interest: 17.99% on purchases, 21.99% on money advances, 17.99% on stability transfers
  • Earn charge: Earn 1 level for each $1 spent
  • Welcome bonus: earn 5,000 factors ($20 worth), redeemable after 3 months.


  • It affords rewards on on a regular basis purchases, in contrast to most barebones secured playing cards.
  • The welcome bonus is aggressive. 
  • It’s accessible for a lot of college students.


  • Annual price of $48, as effectively a $6 month-to-month price.
  • There’s a minimal deposit of $300, however it’s higher than the typical secured bank card requiring deposits of $500 and better.

Finest scholar bank card for leisure perks

Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card for college students*

scotiabank scene visa card for students

At a look: In case your secure place is a film theatre to get away from dorm drama or to get some headspace away from studying, take into account this card. What you spend on the cinema can flip into some good perks. 

  • Annual price: $0
  • Earn charge: 1 Scene Level for each $1 spent; 2 Scene Factors for each $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or
  • Rate of interest: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on money advances, 22.99% on stability transfers
  • Welcome bonus: earn 5,000 bonus Scene+™ factors inside your first yr. Provide ends 31 October 2023.


  • Scene+ factors are fairly versatile for a factors program. For instance, you possibly can e-book flights with any airline with out having to depend on a particular journey company or portal. Plus, you possibly can redeem for different journey objects, reminiscent of Airbnbs. It’s among the finest factors applications accessible to Canadians.
  • One other bonus, the rewards are nice for issues exterior of a typical scholar funds. Deal with your self for managing the stresses of faculty by utilizing the rewards on issues like motion pictures, takeout, reward playing cards from retailers, flights, motels and extra.
  • It can save you 25% off base charges for automotive leases at taking part Avis and Funds rental places in Canada and the U.S.


  • The earn charge will quickly be modified on Oct. 1, 2022. So you’ll discover that the earn charge is dropping from five-times the factors right down to two-times the factors at cinemas. The excellent news, although, is that factors will probably be doubling for choose grocery shops. 
  • There are bonus factors for different widespread spending classes, like fuel or eating, that means fewer methods to maximise your returns. So, you would need to go to the flicks frequently to essentially benefit from the bonus earn charge.
  • Not as versatile as a money again program, however redeeming is simple for journey objects.

Our methodology: How we decide one of the best playing cards

The MoneySense editorial crew selects one of the best bank cards by assessing the worth they supply to Canadians throughout numerous classes. Our greatest scholar bank cards rating relies on an in depth listing of card particulars and options—with a give attention to those who matter to college students—together with annual charges, rates of interest, welcome affords, rewards earn charges, annual earnings necessities, and perks reminiscent of insurance coverage protection, rebates and reductions. We’ve got additionally thought-about the professionals and cons of every card that can assist you decide which of them finest fit your monetary wants. Our rankings are an unbiased supply of data for Canadians. The addition of hyperlinks from affiliate companions has no bearing on the outcomes. Learn extra about how MoneySense makes cash.

Bank card ideas for college students

You realize it is advisable to be accountable in how you employ your bank card—however what, precisely, does that imply? Learn on for recommendations on utilizing your bank card to beef up your credit score rating and avoiding any issues. 

  1. Examine your cost due dates
    You most likely know that bank card payments arrive each month, however that doesn’t imply the due date on your cost is on the primary day. The date that begins your billing cycle relies on when you’re authorized for the account, and it may very well be any day of the month. Make observe of the due date and be sure you pay on time.
  2. Repay your stability in full
    When you’re going to be accountable along with your bank card, you gained’t use it to spend cash you don’t have. Don’t go into debt. It’s finest apply to repay your invoice in full, on time, each month. Not solely will this increase your credit score rating, however it should additionally enable you to keep away from pricey curiosity expenses.
  3. Heed the minimal stability
    When you do overspend, you’ll nonetheless must repay a few of your stability. Your invoice will present a complete stability and a minimal cost. It’s essential to pay at the very least the minimal cost, on time and each month, it doesn’t matter what. Lacking funds is without doubt one of the worst issues you are able to do on your credit score rating. Paying solely the minimal implies that you’re accumulating curiosity on the unpaid stability. At a median of round 20%, this may add up shortly. 
  4. Don’t overspend
    In case it’s not clear: Don’t overspend! Credit score is borrowed cash, and a bank card isn’t a debit card. All the cash you cost to your card have to be paid again. When you don’t or can’t, you’ll end up racking up curiosity expenses along with wrecking your credit standing. 
  5. Don’t max out your bank card
    Your bank card can have a credit score restrict; that’s the sum of money you possibly can technically borrow on it. However spending all the way in which as much as your restrict—that’s, maxing out your card—is reckless. It will likely be more durable to repay your stability. Use your card selectively for smaller purchases, at the very least initially, and think about using debit for nearly every part else.

—Keph Senett

Ceaselessly requested questions

Making use of for a scholar bank card is fairly easy, though there are a couple of eligibility necessities to remember.

  • You’ll must be the age of majority in your province. That’s both 18 (in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan) or 19 (in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon).
  • When you don’t earn an earnings, you might want to supply proof that you just obtain some type of monetary help, reminiscent of allowances from your loved ones or a scholarship.

As a brand new bank card holder, it’s a sensible concept to evaluate your choices earlier than you apply. Take a look at what completely different banks are providing and select a card that finest matches your way of life and spending habits. Every software does have an effect on your credit score rating, so that you’ll wish to keep away from making use of for a number of bank cards needlessly. Follow one card as you be taught the ropes and begin constructing your credit score historical past. 

Extra of Canada’s finest bank cards:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here